You Make The Diagnosis: Name The Most Common Arizona Tick

Pictured below is the back of a boxer rescued by Boxer Luv in Arizona.  When I first saw the photo, I thought the dog had a thick crust of dried blood on its back.  Closer inspection revealed the truth.  These are ticks!  This is one of the most concentrated infestations I have ever seen.  What kind of ticks are these?  What diseases do they carry? Hint:  This is the most common tick found in Arizona.


Diagnosis:  Brown Dog Tick

The brown dog tick is the most common tick found in Arizona.  The tick has four stages in its life cycle – egg, larvae, nymph and adult.  The size of the tick increases with each stage.  The larvae are sometimes referred to as “seed ticks” because of their small size.  Adult females may have a blue-grey color because of ingested blood.

It is important to protect pets from ticks as they often carry tick fever.  Ehrlichiosis or tick fever is a serious disease that requires veterinary care.  Thank goodness, the dog shown above tested negative for tick fever.  Thank you to Sarah Moravitz for providing this picture and all the other wonderful volunteers at Boxer Luv.  Keep up the great work!

Source:  Allen, Debbie. Ticks in Arizona, Arizona Cooperative Extension Yavapai County, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bulletin #77, December 10, 2008.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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